5 Stars Out Of 5
Quiet but powerful
December 21, 2013
Life's real treasures are quite ordinary looking: how true, and how easy to forget. As someone who has just moved from Poland to the US, I appreciate how life's unexpected journeys can be both a blessing and a challenge. "Maybe you're leaving for a distant country," Brown begins in the Prologue. "Maybe you're undertaking a new challenge." You bet! Like Bilbo, I have missed more than one dinner and I miss my friends more than Bilbo aches for his brass buttons; at the same time, I also found out that getting out of the rut is liberating. The world can be wonderful if you trust the adventure. It will carry you like the road carried Bilbo.
Hobbit Lessons is not a book about The Hobbit. It's Brown's personal reflection on what The Hobbit as well as The Lord of the Rings tell us about life as an adventure and about how to say yes to it. Brown weaves his reflection around six key themes (spread through 5 chapters and the epilogue) and shooting through them is Tolkien's great message: embrace the unexpected, welcome change, and be generous to others. Although each of the five chapters has its highlights, my particular favourite was "Have your friends' backs for someone has yours." Our adventures, Brown says, do not happen by accident and "knowing that someone has been and will always be there managing our adventuresâ€”frees us to help others" (57). Yes indeed. Like the work of Tolkien and many other fantasists, Brown's engaging "margin notes" remind us why we are here and what is really important. A quiet reflective read on hobbits, reading, and what helps us grow.